Q: How concerned are you going in with a banged up line and Shawn Andrews hasn't practiced for a couple of days.
A: Yeah. Unquestionably you wish you had your full complement of players and unquestionably not only do you wish you had your full complement of players, you wish they were out there for the full complement of practices. It's not the ideal situation, but hopefully they'll be ready to go and you just do the best you can under the circumstances, knowing that there's been limited practice time and you're counting on the time being made up in meetings, watching film and compensating for the fact that they're not out there physically doing it. It's not the ideal, it's not the way you'd draw it up, but it at least gives you a chance so that you're prepared and if he is prepared, I'm sure he'll play well, but it's just a matter of putting forth the necessary time.
Q: If you have to go to the third tackle, do you have to start cutting back?
A: You wish you could, but the problem is that they don't let you because defensively, particularly this team, they use multiple personnel groupings and looks and the basis of what they do, to me, is to try to cause confusion, so the challenge is not to allow that to happen and not to allow that to slow you down and you continue to perform with the efficiency and the coordination that you need in order to have a chance to win. In terms of what you do offensively, just by the nature of what they do, they limit you and certainly if it's a guy that is less experienced or it's a guy that maybe needs further assistance from either a tight end or a back or an additional lineman or what have you, that just compounds the matter.
Q: How quickly has Derek Hagan picked up where he left off?
A: One of the major concerns or considerations for why he was brought back was that we thought he would assimilate fairly quickly to what we're doing. I think we're accurate in that. Now, in terms of knowing your assignment and then going out and actually being able to execute it, that's two different things. Watching him today, he knew what to do, but not necessarily doing it as well as he was doing it when he left in terms of just running a middle a read, for example. A guy is running with him and intuitively, he would have known to put a move on him while he was just running the middle, it made it easy for the defender to just fall back to the inside. I think that by the time the game comes around, he'll be up to speed. We're certainly counting on it. That is one of the things that has always distinguished him is that he was a very dependable guy that would do the right thing, the quarterback would feel comfortable and he wouldn't be fooled, not only assignment-wise, but body language wise.
Q: Eli seemed more irritated with the mistakes last week than we've seen him. Do you sense that in the offense?
A: Well, you know what? We've been playing at an unbelievably high level. Last week, 480 yards with those mistakes and with those penalties and the yardage is almost inconceivable, so I think that the frustration arises from the fact that you saw how close you were, despite the fact that we were struggling, stopping them from still being able to win the game. I think that's where the frustration lies and you just know that if you could have been a little bit sharper with the penalties, then not only do you make a turnover, but it's a 102-yard turnover, it may have been the difference in the game. We jump offsides, which negates what would have been a touchdown two plays later, it's a 14-point swing, so I think things like that, you wouldn't be a human being if you weren't frustrated, but I think that's a good thing.
Q: What's your comfort level with Will Beatty this week?
A: It doesn't matter what my comfort level is. That's irrelevant. You have to play who is available to you, so the challenge before him and it'll be his second week back and you'd like to think that a little bit of the rust has been chipped off. No matter who you've got over there on the left side, you've got a hellacious challenge with that defense end, he's a terrific football player, he's all out and never yielding and never slowing down, so you'd have your hands full if you'd been playing all season long, but it certainly, as every new player or every substitution makes it more difficult. As I said last week, you lose Steve Smith, you lost David Diehl...I still thought we could win the game and I thought that the way the game played out, that was born out and I still feel the same way this week.
Q: Is being unsettled on the line worse than being unsettled at the skilled positions?
A: No. Not at all. Anywhere. Losing David Diehl was enormous because you had him at guard, Richie was at center, you were playing great football and Shawn was playing terrific at left tackle. You lose David and now you're playing guys that just came back. We mentioned William Beatty, but Kevin Boothe had just gotten back, it was his first week back. Very few teams have to go through what we're going through right now, but that's the way it is. You just have to make the best of it. I thought Boothe fought his heart out and did a reasonably good job considering the fact that he was up against a big, strong, talented football player and I thought more than held his own.
Q: Are they still adhering to the Jim Johnson philosophy?
A: Yeah, but even with Jim, every year they evolved and tweaked it a little bit here and adjusted there. I think it's a continuation.